Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Dresden and Kiel

The link with Dresden is better known but in fact Coventry was first twinned with Kiel in the North of Germany.

Kiel City Hall and Opera House 

Kiel city hall and opera house. (Source:

In Kiel, a post-war construction commissioner, Mr Williams, came from Coventry. He encouraged the mayor to propose a friendship link with Coventry in 1947 and the Friends of Coventry Society was founded, which later became the Deutsche-Britische Gesellschaft Kiel (German British society). This society has worked with Coventry counterparts on several exchange visits.

The close link with Dresden came about out of solidarity with the shared experience of bombing during the Second World War.

Dresden Cathedral (Source:

During the night from 13th to 14th February 1945, Dresden was flattened by Allied air bombing. Tens of thousands of people (an accepted estimate is 25,000 though other estimates are much higher) lost their lives, many in 'fire balls' that the bombing had created. The raids were controversial even at the time as it looked like they may have been punishment raids on a city noted for its culture rather than heavy industry - though this is disputed by some historians.

After the war Dresden became part of East Germany, or the DDR, and is now part of a unified Germany. In Dresden itself the bombing is marked by forming a human chain of 'peace and tolerance' around the city.

There was a lot of media interest in February 2020 to mark the 75 Anniversary of the bombing raids.One contribution was a 45 minutes discussion of Dresden on the BBC which can be found here. Unfortunately the programme is only accessible at this url for a limited period but it may well be possible to track down later online.

Another contribution came from the Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, this with a focus on contemporary political challenges posed by the Far Right. You can see it here.

One of the most active links with Dresden is the Coventry Dresden arts exchange. This was set up by two artists, John Yeadon from Coventry and Jean Kirsten in Dresden. The idea is to promote arts based partnerships between the two cities and they have organised several exhibitions including ones in Roots Gallery during Coventry Peace Festival 2012 and in the JohannStadthalle in Dresden in September 2013. John talks about the association in more detail on the people pages within this site.

If you are interested in visiting or learning more about Kiel go to the Kiel visitors web site

The city of Dresden has provided its own guide to itself

(there is an English language option)

Within there is a guide to Dresden's partner cities here:

(This part is in German but cut and paste into Google translate or similar to get the general idea if you cannot follow it.)